Creationism believer joins state board

Creationism believer joins state board
BY ANNIE HALL Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/4/07
COLUMBUS - In one of the quietest, most overlooked elections on Nov. 7, an amazing thing happened in an Ohio state school board race in Southwest Ohio. A little-known West Chester mom who'd never won elected public office knocked off an incumbent.

Susan Haverkos, who spent $3,500 of her own money on her campaign, defeated school board member Tom Gunlock and two other opponents. Gunlock and the other candidates each spent three times as much, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

Haverkos emphasized support for teaching intelligent design in 10th-grade science classes - an issue over which the 19-member board has clashed.

Haverkos has described herself as Christian and conservative - but stresses that she's representing all residents of the district, which covers Butler, Miami, and Montgomery counties and part of Darke County.

"I didn't come here with any preconceived notions and I'm not a one-issue person," she said at a December board meeting. She officially takes office on Monday.

"You can't cover up that you're a Christian, and I wouldn't want to. But I represent constituents with a million different opinions, and each one is going to get my complete attention and respect," Haverkos said.

During the campaign, she was quoted by a Dayton Daily News blog as saying, "Did we come out of bubbling ooze or did we come out of something else? That question, to say it's been solved, is a stretch."

Intelligent design holds that Earth and all living beings came about from an intelligent creator.

"I'm interested in art in the classroom and programs for gifted children," she said. "I want to respectfully listen to everyone and try to change the polarized political environment that has guided this board."

Haverkos said she wants her daughter to make up her own mind about evolution and not have it dictated to her in a middle school science class.

That position, known as "teaching the controversy," has been discarded by organizations made up of scientists and academics such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Inter-University Council of Ohio and the Ohio Academy of Science.

Haverkos, 45, and her husband, Mark, own and operate an Internet and technology equipment business.